THE JIG IS UP!

In the 1800’s a new term surfaced through a prominent newspaper out of Philadelphia.

“The Jig Is Up!”

More than 2 millennia later this terminology lives on.

“The jig is up” by its very definition is intended to communicate that the truth of any circumstance or situation has surfaced despite an intentional effort to mislead others by pulling the wool over their eyes. It’s literally as to say, you’ve been found out! No more pretense. No more games. No more faking or facades. The jig is up!

This past Sunday I preached week 3 of our “Timeless Truth” series from Titus 1:10-16 and was blessed to address how, through our actions and the fruit of our lives and faith, we can absolutely determine a person’s commitment to Christ. I also had an obligation to address church splits and the byproduct(s) of a body of believers divided. Not only does a church split divide the body of Christ, it devastates entire communities!

Here is the passage from Sunday’s message:

10 For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation.11 They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. And they do it only for money. 12 Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, “The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.” 13 This is true. So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith. 14 They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth. 15 Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good. (Titus 1:10-16 | NLT)

In comparison to the 17 qualities and characteristics of an appointed elder in the church, God shows us 5 opposed character traits and behaviors of false teachers that are intentionally looking to divide the church and ruin the community of Christ through luring people away from the church and the truth of God.

Here are the 5 characteristics Paul calls out to Titus, that Titus is responsible to be aware of and on the lookout for:


#1  //  False teachers are rebellious

Rebellious means to “come against authority, wanting to seize control, engaged in opposition, and a defiant spirit”. We must be careful to examine the motives and intentions of those wanting to assume responsibility within the church. It is our responsibility to examine their practices as opposed to recklessly adopting their words and weigh all things with Scripture. Those that truly love God will actively set aside their own agendas, making every effort to KEEP THE UNITY OF THE BODY


#2  //  False teachers engage in useless talk

Useless talk as is mentioned in Titus addressing the people of the churches in Crete affords us the opportunity to consider 2 things:

First: Religious people like to puff-up their own ego and self-righteousness – they like to hear themselves talk and attempt to prove their worth and merit by what they say. This talk is meaningless!

Proverbs 26:4 (NLT): “Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools,or you will become as foolish as they are.”

Titus 3:9 (NLT): “Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time.”

Second: This problem is also indicative of poor leadership; of people saying one thing with their mouth, but not following through, backing up their speech by their actions!

Proverbs 14:23 (NLT): “Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!”

2 Timothy 2:16 (NLT): “Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.”

Matthew 5:37 – “Let your ‘yes be yes’ and your ‘no be no!'”

In short, as Christians, our responsibility is to not get caught up in useless theological debates meant for causing division. Instead, we have an opportunity to look to create unity in the body with our words and the conversations that we’re a part of and that we facilitate. Beyond this, we also have an obligation to follow through on what we say – not making commitments with our mouths only to abandon our obligation(s) for another opportunity that we see as more beneficial to our lives.


#3  //  False teachers deceive others

These are people that like to and do talk senselessly for personal gain and their own benefit. These people are drawing others away from the truth of God by their deliberate and selfish actions.

Though there are many problems with this outright sinful behavior, the greatest damage is done in the heart and lived out through the actions of these deceivers.

Consider what the Bible says:

Philippians 2:3 (NLT): Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

Romans 12:10 (NLT): Love each other with genuine affection,[a] and take delight in honoring each other.


#4  //  False teachers are focused on religion

These are those who insist on religion over relationship (circumcision before salvation) and were known as the Judaizers. These Judaizers were Jews and the “religious elite” that taught how Gentiles had to obey all the Jewish laws (613 in total) before they could experience Christianity. The greatest problem that I see without stating the obvious of how absurd and ridiculous this superimposed religiosity is on people is that…IT IS NOT BIBLICAL!

Far too many body of believers and those hiding behind the banner of Christianity are doing more harm than good, leading people to believe that they have to have “everything together” before they can come to church or encounter Christ. What the heck does this even mean, to have “everything together”? It’s ridiculous and a complete manmade system of thinking so as to puff themselves up and create unnecessary barriers for the people that most need an encounter with Jesus to experience Him. STOP IT!!!

Another problem that I see with Judaizers is that this is an incredible example of religion OVER a right-relationship with Jesus; of people choosing to try and will their way to salvation rather than experiencing the GRACE of God in their lives.

Ephesians 2:8 (NLT): “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”

HOW DOES GOD VIEW RELIGION?

James 1:27 (NLT): “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”


#5  //  False teachers do what they do for their own personal gain

In other words, these are the people only concerned with their personal gain and greatest benefit to themselves, willing to sacrifice anything to get their desired outcome. And what does the Word of God say about these false teachers?

THESE PEOPLE MUST BE SILENCED!

“Silenced” = Σπιστομιζω | verb | epistomizo | ep-ee-stom-id-zo  //  “to muzzle, to be silenced, to stop the mouth”.

One of the many responsibilities of our pastors, elders and the leaders of our church is to ensure sound doctrine and to protect against false teachers. We have a responsibility as elders to protect the flock, guide the sheep, and defend against harm and predators!

In short, what Paul is encouraging to Titus with regards to the early church(es) on the Island of Crete is to identify, call out and inform these false teachers that The Jig Is Up!

No more pretense. Masks and games set aside. We’ve identified you for who you are based on your actions and how you live your life.

What’s more is that for us as Christians seeking to honor God in all things, we must move away from mere lip-service and into a active lifestyle!

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 (NLT): “Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. 10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more. 11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.”
For more on this subject, be sure to click the video link above and follow along as I walk us through the entire passage from Titus 1:10-16.

A. Anderson

 

 

G.P.S.

 

Global Positioning System

Originally designed by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) by industry leading scientists during the Sputnik era, the world was first introduced to satellites that were/are able to track our positions based on what we now know as the “Doppler Effect”. As early as the 1960’s, the United States Navy began to employ GPS with hopes of effectively tracking their Submarines, which were responsible for carrying nuclear missiles.

More than 50 years later, today GPS (Global Positioning System) is a space-based radionavigation system owned by the US Government and operated by the United States Air Force to meet national defense, homeland security, civil, commercial, and scientific needs and is used globally for tracking location and in providing navigation for not only the Department of Defense and the US Military, but by civilians the world-over.

The unique function of GPS is that it gives direction(s) to a designated location based on coordinates; information about how to get where you want to go based on research, previous experience, and satellites. If you’re anything like me, more often than not, you miss a turn or lack attention based on other distractions and your GPS has to “reroute” your directions in order to achieve your destination. It happens to me more than I care to admit! Ha!!

 

Gospel Position through Scripture

On Sunday we picked up the second message in our “Timeless Truths” series; a study through the book of Titus. More specifically we worked through Titus 1:5-9:

I (Paul) left you (Titus) on the island of Crete so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you. An elder must live a blameless life. He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious. A church leader is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money.

Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.

As part of this message we focused on the 17 qualifications and attributes of an Elder which Paul readily identifies (takes the guesswork out) for Titus – clear instructions on what he was responsible for and what, rather, who he was to be actively pursuing in consideration of experiencing life and ministry together. Among the list of 17 included 5 prohibitions along with 12 active-expectations, including:

  1. An elder must live a blameless life (mentioned twice in the passage)
  2. An elder must be faithful to his wife
  3. An elder’s children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious
  4. An elder must be a leader, whom is a manager of God’s household
  5. An elder must not be arrogant
  6. An elder must not be quick-tempered
  7. An elder must not be a heavy drinker
  8. An elder must not be violent
  9. An elder must not be dishonest with money
  10. An elder must enjoy having guests in his home
  11. An elder must love what is good
  12. An elder must live wisely
  13. An elder must be just
  14. An elder must live a devout
  15. An elder must live a disciplined life
  16. An elder must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught
  17. An elder must be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching

The individuals and noise that we allow to speak into our lives and with which we derive our direction(s) in life based on popculture and the latest fads or trends will always leave us wondering the wilderness, constantly needing to reroute us. In short, the ways of this world – recieving our guidance and instructions from influencers this side of heaven which are separate from God’s Word, will always leave us longing for more and absolutely frustrated by our lack of clear directions and useful instructions.

Instead, I believe that we must long for and cling to our designed GPS or Gospel Position through Scripture!

I once heard an acronym to help us understand the principle(s) and purpose of the Bible:

B – basic
I – instructions
B – before
L – leaving
E – earth

So long as we are learning, applying and clinging to the very Word of God, we will have all of the direction we will ever need. No more cheap imitations and looking to the things of this world to lead us where only God is capable of taking us.

Live out your life on purpose, my friends, and focus on God’s Gospel Position through Scripture to guide, lead and direct you both now and all of the days of your life!

To hear more from Sunday’s message, be sure to click the video up-top.

A. Anderson

Grace BEFORE Peace

This past weekend we launched into a new series that we’re calling, “Timeless Truths” – a study through the book of Titus.

Greetings from Paul

“1 This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him. I am writing to Titus, my true son in the faith that we share. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.”

Here are some takeaways from the first installment of our series entitled, “Grace Before Peace.”

  • Much like the island of Crete when Paul wrote his letter to Titus whom was responsible for caring for and leading the church(es), we live in a day, age and culture that prides itself on relativism, including a large emphasis on relative truth(s) as well as relative circumstances.
  • God’s Word is timeless; it is unchanging and perfect, remaining uncompromising and complete!
  • Understanding our position in life and the kingdom of God leads us to adopting our purpose (what God would have from us and for us).
  • Until we truly identify and accept WHO’s we are, we will never be fully capable of living out WHO we are!
  • Facts change, but the truth of God never does!
  • The truth of God’s word leads us to complete confidence.
  • When considering what God would have from us and for us, we must recognize that the time is now! We are called to be a Christian community of action!
  • Throughout Scripture, grace always precedes peace!

People search the world over in desperation of peace; a comfort and calm for their soul. Too often this search for peace leads to a lot of empty, cheap imitations that not only lack the ability to fill the void of peace that only God can fill, but it pulls us further away from knowing the grace and peace of God.

If as you read this collection of thoughts right now and you catch yourself wrestling with the idea of true and complete PEACE, I would argue that you need to ask yourself if you have ever experienced the GRACE of God. Until we recognize, accept and live out of the grace that can only come through Jesus Christ (G.R.A.C.E.  //  God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense), we will never experience that peace which surpasses all understanding.

I invite you to listen in to the Word from Sunday and ask God to prepare your heart to accept his grace and experience true peace.

A. Anderson

COMMITMENT

 

Every year countless people will make a commitment in the form of a New Year’s Resolution – a decision that usually revolves around starting or quitting something. And every year 92% of the people that made a commitment to better their lives will drop off at some point along the 365 day calendar year. What’s more is that 50% of those that fail to honor their commitment will fall short within the first month.

Why is that?

Why do people have such a difficult time following through on the things that they’re committed to?

According to multiple psychologists, there are several reasons including, but not limited to:

FAILURE TO PLAN

I once heard it said that if you fail to plan you may as well plan to fail. Honestly, making a commitment in one’s mind to start or to stop something without a plan in place generally amounts to little more than a good idea at best.

Life’s best ideas and goals are optimized when a plan is built and put into place. This is one common characteristic that many of the greatest leaders our world has ever known has in common.

GOING IT ALONE

Accountability is often overlooked where people are too embarrassed or uninformed to realize the need for help. There tends to be a gap between the expectations in our minds compared to what comes to the surface through our actions. It’s too easy to become distracted, discouraged, dissuaded and disillusioned when we’re left to our devices.

From the beginning, we were not created to “go it alone”. Instead, we are better together and the benefits that come from community, specifically with realizing our goals and dreams, is tremendous.

TOO EASILY DISCOURAGED

Inevitably, this is one that we’ve all struggled with from time to time – the ability to stay excited, therefore committed to our cause. What starts out as energetic enthusiasm for what we hope to accomplish becomes far too easily compromised when things don’t go the way that we had envisioned. This failure to see things come together the way that we had hoped often leads to discouragement, which can prove detrimental when it comes to achieving our goals.

Much like having a plan in place, we need to intentionally remind ourselves of what it is we’re committed to doing and the reasons why; in others words, cost and affect. So long as we can keep the bigger picture in mind, we will be better able to stay the course when things don’t always go as we anticipate.

NOT INVESTED

“There is no such things as a free lunch.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard a good friend and mentor of mine say this to me, I would be able to feed my Chick-fil-A habit for a year! The principle behind this sentiment is that everything in life will cost us something. Whether financially or relationally, spiritually or mentally, everything that we set our minds to comes with a cost.

When people set out to achieve great things but have little to no personal investment, there tends to be little reason for resolve when things become difficult. On the other hand, when we have personal investment in what we’re doing, we are much more likely to put and keep our hand to the plow, making every genuine effort to see through that with which we have committed.

A LACK OF RESOLVE

“To decide firmly on a course of action”; this is the crucible of resolve. It’s what gives us the ability to apply fortitude and the gumption to keep going when things get difficult and threaten to take us off course from accomplishing those things that we initially commit to. If we make commitments without resolve, we are doing little more than “giving it a shot”, hoping for the best.

Resolve is an incredible ingredient in commitment. Without it I would argue that realizing one’s best can’t happen because at the first sign of trouble, on the surface it always seems easiest to cut bate and abandon ship. However, when we have a deep resolve within us, we will be able to see the forest through the trees and our end-goal in mind, which will provide all of the motivation and incentive that we need to press on and keep going.

OUR FAITH

When it comes to matters of faith and a real commitment to grow in knowledge and grace, I believe that we can get caught up in the same reasons and excuses that I just went through when comparing reasons for failure to our commitments and goals.

If we want to experience life to the fullest and really Live It Up! as a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe it’s imperative that we:

  1. Develop a plan of how we are going to grow in our faith, including:
    • Personal Bible study
    • Church involvement
    • Prayer
    • Building community and relationships
  2. Intentionally invite someone into our lives and faith-journey for accountability and encouragement
  3. Trust in the Lord and remind ourselves of why we’re doing what we’re doing in growing our faith through the promises of God, which not only inform us, but inspire and encourage us as well
  4. Consider what we need to invest in growing in our relationship with Jesus, including:
    • Time
    • Energy
    • Resources
    • Involvement in church and a Christian community
  5. Consistently remind ourselves of what we’re committed to and why so as to stay the course when things become difficult and threaten to pull us off-track from our goals

I addressed the need for us to Live It Up! through making a commitment and sticking with it this past Sunday. I invite you to click the video link above from Sunday’s message and consider what God is calling you to commit to and your next-steps in that commitment.

A. Anderson

Living Beyond Yourself…


I once heard a story about a married couple that would go to great lengths in an effort to display their love for one another. They went out of their way to be creative and ever-intentional in telling the other how much they were loved.

“S.H.M.I.L.Y.” – See How Much I Love You

The wife would leave a piece of paper with the acronym S.H.M.I.L.Y., which represented the following statement, “See How Much I Love You”, in her husbands socks as she folded them up, knowing that when he went to wear them the note would fall out.

The husband would leave a similar piece of paper in the flour container knowing that when his wife went to bake something, she would find the note.

This went on for years; in fact, this carried on throughout their marriage and in countless ways. An intentional way of demonstrating one another’s love for each other.

As Christians that are committed to living our lives to the fullest, demonstrating our love for others is essential! We know the extent of God’s love for us in that while we were still sinners, God sent His Son – a life lived by Jesus of love and in death and ressurection, a life of redemption made possible.

If we are image bearers of Christ, how much should we then look to love others in how we live beyond ourselves?


Living Beyond Yourself

This past weekend I shared the first of a 2-part message from a story found in 2 Kings 4, a message about how to live beyond ourselves. I’ll share the second part next weekend. This message is one part of a collection of messages given in our “Live It Up!” series at Country Bible Church. To check out the video series of messages, you can visit the MEDIA page.

Below are a few of the highlights I’ve pulled from the message:

#1  //  Living beyond yourself means RECOGNIZING that we all have something to give! 

For far too long I have been witness to people all over the church that don’t feel like they have anything to give. What’s more is there are an equally alarming number of folks within the church that don’t give because they don’t feel like what they have to give compares to what others in the church are giving, i.e., finances, volunteer hours, experiences, spiritual gifts, etc.

While I understand that there are some gifts and givers that are more obvious and outspoken, I struggle with the notion that someone wouldn’t see value in what they have to give based on what others are doing in the church. Each one of us has something to give; every person that has come into a right-relationship with Jesus has been awarded a gift by the Holy Spirit and God is able to redeem our experiences and education and time as well as our financial gifts for His good purposes and glory. We are not called to compare our gifts with others or wonder around in darkness with little effort given to understanding our gifts and how they can be used by God in the lives of others.

On the contrary!

What I believe we are to do is to intentionally recognize those unique gifts that God has given us as individuals and look for opportunities to share our gifts with others!

What are you gifted in that God wants to bless others with through you?

#2  //  Living beyond yourself means LOOKING for opportunities to give!

I just said it but it bares repeating. What I believe we are to do, with regards to our gifts, is to intentionally recognize our unique gifts that God has given us as individuals and to look for opportunities to share our gifts with others.

Last week during our annual Vacation Bible School, we had 75 adult volunteers intentionally look for opportunities to share their gifts with children from all over our community. Here are just a few of the “wins” from the week:

  1. 235 people attended Vacation Bible School
  2. 75 adults volunteered their time and gifts in serving at VBS
  3. We raised $840.76 in children brining in their change, which 100% of the money brought in will be given to our local food bank to meet the needs of the needy in our community
  4. We had more volunteers for this one event than we have had in recent history
  5. There are countless stories coming out of our VBS week together in which these children’s lives will be changed forever

All of these things and more were made possible by our Great Big God and the tremendous sacrifices of the volunteers whom made our VBS week not only possible, but wildly successful!

Every person that volunteered recognized that they had something to give and came looking for an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the children.

While recognizing that we all have something to give: time, money, a skill or craft, etc., recognition is just the beginning. We must look for opportunities to live beyond ourselves!

How are you looking for opportunities to use your God-given gifts and experiences to live beyond yourself?

#3  //  Living beyond yourself means MEETING people where they are!

I can’t stress enough the importance of being the church – of doing life and ministry on purpose, with a purpose, for His purpose! What this means is that we cannot simply settle for opening our doors up on Sunday or some night of the week for programs and expect people to come in droves. We just can’t! And that’s not at all what Jesus modeled for us nor was it the practice of the early church.

Instead, we have to begin to identify where people are at and start creating opportunities to meet them there. Living beyond ourselves means taking to the streets of our community and sharing the love of Jesus through how we live our lives and how we’re applying the gifts that God has give us. Living beyond ourselves means meeting people where they’re at, investing in their lives, and inviting them into our lives.

What are you doing to use your gifts by meeting people where they’re at?


Some final thoughts

If we want to Live It Up! in our faith, it comes with a price. We must recognize that we are called to live life beyond ourselves and start not only recognizing that we have something to give, but intentionally looking for opportunities to give and serve others. When we recognize our gifts and look for opportunities to use our gifts, we will start meeting people where they’re at and lives will be changed! God promises to redeem our gifts and use them for his glory, which carries eternal significance!

How are you living beyond yourself today?
A. Anderson

To learn more about living beyond yourself, be sure to check out the video message from last Sunday!

 

Media, Metrics & Motivation

 

In 2003 my life changed forever! With the birth of our son Kaedon as well as the addition of Social Media, I learned more about media, metrics and motivation than I ever thought possible. You can hear a little more about my experiences in the first 6-minutes of the message from Sunday (see video link).

Here’s the deal…

How we share information (media), how we measure how healthy we are (metrics), and how we determine what matters most to us (motivation), these are all matters that inform our faith.

This past weekend I shared a message from our “Live It Up!” series from
Colossians 1:3-10 (NLT)

Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer

We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf. He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you. So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.


MEDIA

Paul was writing encouragement to the church of what he was hearing about the Christian’s in Colosse, of their faith in Jesus and how they were living out their faith through their love for people. The fact that he was hearing about their faith or the fact that it was worth reporting is pretty significant!

While under house-arrest in Rome, over 1,300 mile away by land and sea, it would have taken 54 days on average for news to travel this distance and this is without any hiccups or detours along the way. The fact that Paul is hearing about the faith and love of the Colossian people is not insignificant. It means that their faith was worth talking about. The faith and love of the Colossian church was making an impact not only within their church and community, but had begun to infiltrate the world at-large.

Sharing this information was no small feat when you consider that there was no social media, no email, no phone calls, no smoke signals or carrier pigeons to speak of. The mainstay of media was word-of-mouth or personal testimony and formal letters. And it’s worth noting that the media shared was done on purpose. Given the limited means for communication, what was shared was as equally deliberate as it was detailed.

As a Junior in High School, my youth Pastor asked me one day if I was living a faith in Jesus that was worth talking about. This question was significant and has caused me to consider this question of significance and intentionality more often than not over the years. This is a question, a difficult question, that I think we need to wrestle with today…

Is our faith in Jesus and love for people worth talking about?


METRICS

While in the hospital awaiting the delivery of our son Kaedon, I found a way to push every button (both literally and metaphorically speaking) and mess with the machines. It was no surprise when the doctor came in and encourage (ASKED FIRMLY) me to stop playing with the machines because the information that they were providing for the nurses and doctors was significant. Everything from the ultrasound to the blood pressure cuff, the blood panel to the stethoscope, each instrument was used to measure metrics in an effort to determine the health of my wife, Stacy, and our unborn child.

God has given us several metrics by which we can and should measure our faith. Here are just a few:

When was the last time you had a “spiritual check-up” to determine how healthy you are in your faith?


MOTIVATION

In life there are a lot of things that motivate us – from athletics to academics and quite literally, nearly everything in between, people find motivation for why they do what they do.

When my son was born I found that my motivation as a man, not just a father, but as a man, husband, father and if I’m being honest, even as a Christian changed. While holding Kaedon I considered the significance of how my life would inevitably impact my son and it lead me to change much about not only my behaviors but the way that I thought about life as well. Honestly, this change through the life of my son and daughters has been one of the greatest gifts that God has ever blessed me with. An awesome responsibility? Absolutely! And an amazing blessing that has motivated me to become the man that I am today as well as strive to the best man that I can be tomorrow and thereafter.

What motivation do you have for living a life of faith and godliness?
I pray that you may know the awesome salvation that comes from a right-relationship with Jesus and that this saving grace will drive you to a life full of health media, metrics and motivation!

A. Anderson

 

Knowledge & Power!

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!” This statement carries with it a sentiment that speaks to our motivation(s) as much as it does our actions, and in many cases, our inactions. What I’ve come to understand over the years is that head-knowledge often puffs up while applied knowledge builds up.

On Sunday I shared a message from 2 Peter 3:11-18, which spoke, in part, to the tremendous value of how we live our lives. It was the final message in our study through Peter’s second letter to the early churches; early believers that were at risk of becoming caught up in false teaching and wayward living. If you’re interested, I’ve included a link to the video from Sunday below.

Here is a quick recap from Sunday’s message; some takeaways that we can think on throughout the week:


What you believe about death can be found in how you live your life…

Peter draws an incredible parallel for the early adopters of the faith about all things temporal being consumed by fire on the day of judgement. He’s addressing refugees that have been forced from their homes, many whom lost everything by fire, under Nero’s reign and persecution. These followers of Jesus lost much if not all, including their lives, because of their faith.

Near the conclusion of his letter, Peter reminds the Christian that the things of this world will be consumed by fire and at that point the only thing that will matter is our eternity.

For those of us that have the hope of eternity, we are called to look forward to the day of God when we will experience the new heavens and the new earth. In this day there will be no more sorrow, no more brokenness, no more war, no more terrorism, no more devastation. We will experience the best of all that God has in store for all of eternity.

How we live our lives this side of heaven; what we invest in and hold on tightly to, speaks volumes about what we believe in death.

What does how you live your life say about what you believe in death?


There is work in the waiting!

Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but there is a growing number of people within society that seem perfectly content in waiting rather than doing. There seems to be little sense of urgency and in many cases, even less of a sense of urgency about our responsibility to work while we wait.

I am continually reminded that life is short and hell is hot. And while we are awaiting the day of Christ when Jesus will return, there is much to work to be done. We have lives to live and our faith to share. While we are waiting we get to love our neighbors, share our faith, present the Good News to every nation, tribe and tongue, care for the orphans and the widows, pray for those whom persecute us, love those that hate us, continually grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus, worship God individually and collectively, and so much more!

Where do you need to start working in the waiting?


Leading is a by-product of living; what you say is only as good as how you live. 

Growing up I heard adults that were responsible for leading the future generations say things like, “Do as I say, not as I do!” While I completely understand the sentiment of this statement, I cannot disagree more with the practice of this phrase.

What good is what we say when we aren’t respected for how we live our lives? Where is the credibility? What makes us think for even a moment that people will give an ear to what we have to say about life and faith when what they see in how we live? Whether through our relationships, by way of the pictures that we post of Instagram or the posts that we make on Facebook, how we spend our time, what we invest our money in, how we invest our time at our places of employment, how we treat people around us and so much more, what we say is only as good as how we are living our lives!

What does how you are living your life say in comparison to the words that are coming out of your mouth or the posts that you’re making on social media?


The application of knowledge is what leads to power!

I want to finish where I started – that people don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care!

Through the years within education circles, people have heard time and again that knowledge is power. I said it on Sunday and I will say it again here…

I cannot disagree more with this statement!

What good is knowledge if not applied?

How useful is a doctor that has all of the knowhow in the world to administer treatment to a man or woman in need of triage after an accident, but does nothing to apply their knowledge? That knowledge is useless, plain and simple!

And what about us as believers?

What good is our knowledge of Scripture and of all things pertaining to faith in Jesus if we do nothing to live out what we know?

Nothing!

All of the knowledge in the world is useless if not applied!

I cannot implore Christians enough to grow in their grace of knowledge of Jesus. Even more than this, a greater imploring is in how Christians are applying what they’re learning through the Word of God, in their Christian communities, in their LifeGroups, in their accountability relationships with other believers, and in the church.

We’ve got to learn, yes. But more than what we learn is how we live!

What has God taught you by way of knowledge that you need to begin living out today?

May you be blessed by God and filled with inexplicable joy as you live out your faith and knowledge throughout your lives this week!

A. Anderson